There are many reasons why I glad that I'm no longer working for Waterstone's, but if I started listing them I'd probably sound like a bitter old tart.
So let's just pick one reason: I can completely ignore the new Dan Brown book, which is being released in two weeks' time:
I see that at least one branch of Waterstone's is opening at midnight. In a local newspaper interview, the branch manager commented:
"The latest Dan Brown novel will undoubtedly be the biggest selling book of 2009."
"We already have hundreds of pre-orders for it, and have been taking pre-orders since the day the new book was announced many months ago."
"Thanks to the phenomenal success of his other books and subsequent smash-hit films, most notably The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, there has been an enormous amount of hype surrounding the new release. We’re really excited to be a part of it all."
'We're really excited to be a part of it all'?
I hope that the motive for this robotic, lobotomised answer is either fear or ambition. If he really is excited, then all hope is lost.
This isn't just blind prejudice. Five years ago I bought The Da Vinci Code in an airport bookshop, as somebody had recommended it to me. As the plane hit 30,000 feet, I realised that I had been sold a dud. Sir Leigh f***ing Teabing? Do me a favour.
Compared to Dan Brown, the in-flight magazine seemed like McSweeney's and by the time we'd landed, I knew about every golf course and business hotel in Andalucia.
I'm not a good flyer. I need to be distracted from the terrifying knowledge that I have miles of nothing underneath me. Dan Brown let me down and I'm afraid that I do bear a grudge. Next time I will stick to champagne.